Julian Bream is, without a doubt, one of the premiere classical guitarists of the modern recording era. Comparisons between great guitarists is often unfair and misleading as they each have their own styles - and each musician and his/her style tends to be particularly well suited to certain types of music. For example, Andres Segovia's style, cultivated by self-teaching throughout his now ended life, concentrated on flowing legatto smoothness and flowing melodies. Bream's, on the other hand, while equally masterful, is better characterized as emphasizing the precision and crispness of each and every individual note. What better composer to focus on to show this particular proclivity that J. S. Bach, whose work, having been written largely for the keyboards (harpsichord) but also for the lute and triple harp, tends to emphasize the kinds of music Bream excels at. Stacatto phrasings, each written to be played with crystalline exactness, are the types of pieces wherein Bream's magnificence is conspicuous and best showcased. Thus, the special relevance of this particular compilation of some of his best Bach work on this CD.
Helene Grimaud presents her first-ever Bach recording! Once again, charismatic Helene Grimaud presents an album with an individual concept. Bach vs. Bach Transcribed brings together original keyboard works by the master with works by Bach arranged (transcribed) for the piano by pianist-composers of later generations: Busoni, Liszt & Rachmaninov. This is the first time that Hélène Grimaud has recorded Bach - a challenge for any musician. The repertoire includes the famous Well-Tempered Clavier II and the Concerto no. 1 in D minor, the latter performed with Grimaud's regular collaborators, the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Bach "Transcribed" features the Bach/Busoni version of the Chaconne in D minor, the Violin Partita in E major arranged for piano by Rachmaninov, and Liszt's version of the Prelude and Fugue in A minor. A landmark project in Grimaud's successful career, this recording is bound to be a best-seller.
Transcriptions of Bach's Chaconnes from the Partita for solo violin in D minor Bwv 1004 by three composers, as well as a timeless interpretation of the original.
Anyone who was enchanted by Yo Yo Ma's recent video compilation of Bach's cello suites and who has an ear for guitar will also find something special here. Segovia brings a reverence and timelesness to these works, all of them ineffable masterpieces. While recording techniques and outright virtuosity have continued to develop since these recordings (Williams in the Lute Suites, Bream/Barrueco in the Chaconne, Sollscher/Galbraith and others in the Cello Suites) the sense of discovery and sheer love of beauty shine through as strongly as ever. These recordings will be around for a long time to come, but jump right in and be enchanted by as accurate and unwavering an account of these works as you ever thought possible.
Not to knock the many violinists who have done soulful powerful renditions of the 2nd Violin Partita, but Segovia's transcription of Chaconne is simply phenomonal! This CD is particularly moving for guitarists. - Amazon Reviewers
Karl Richter’s recordings of Bach’s orchestral and sacred music influenced an entire generation of musicians and listeners, presenting the conductor’s unique sound and style. When Richter recorded Bach’s works, he freed them from a ponderous tradition that had mired the music in romantic sounds and idiom. Richter lightened Bach’s music, and, with an orchestra of outstanding musicians, helped bring it toward the more modern interpretations that listeners have become familiar with today. This is still a bit far from the historically-informed performances that are pretty much the norm, but there is a unity and natural originality that comes through the music in these recordings.
'Testament' is Rachel Barton Pine's very personal homage to the music of J. S. Bach, on which she performs the composer's complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin in the acoustic of her hometown St. Pauls Church in Chicago, where she first heard and fell in love with Bach's music.